Sunday, January 12, 2014

#63: Rice Neck Warmers

Happy belated New Year!

I've been sewing more often lately, but I haven't been keeping up with my posts (sorry). So here's one I made as Christmas gifts.

I wanted my Christmas gifts to be thoughtful, while not too expensive. I saw a rice neck warmer at a home I was visiting, and thought they would be great, inexpensive, customizable Christmas gifts for the family. 

I started by buying a 20lb. bag of rice, as well as purchasing 1 foot sections of fabric at JoAnn's, choosing various patterns customized to each person interests (my mom collects Curious George, my sister likes owls, my grandfather-in-law is a huge Lakers fan, etc.).

With each piece of material, I first folded it in half inside out and sewed one long edge together.

Inside out, sewing a long edge

Next, I measured about 7 inches over from the new seam and sewed a parallel seam.

7 inches wide

Then I cut off the excess and fake-serged the raw edges (lining the edges in the center of the presser foot and sewing with a zig zag stitch).

Fake-serging the edges

Next, I flipped the material right-side in through the remaining open end, and then sewed another parallel straight line about 2 1/2 inches from one side, creating 2 sections.

Flipped right-side in

Measuring for the next line

Sewing the third parallel line

Finished structure

Once I had the structure all set, I laid them all together and cut them on the open short edge to make them the same length.


I then took a funnel and poured about 1 1/2 cup of rice into the smaller section, and about 2 cups of rice into the larger section.


Funneling the rice

Rice is good at holding heat, and can last for years unless it gets moist, so this is a good filler for the neck warmers. I've actually had a smaller one I hand-made about 7 years ago, and it still works well :)

There is still extra space in the neck warmer, which is good because if the rice was filled to the top, it would be stiff and not malleable around your neck.

After pouring in the rice, I carefully folded in the open edges, pinned, and sewed the open end closed.

Folded in and sewing the edges

And that was it! I created some thoughtful, usable, personalized Christmas gifts for family, and all for a low cost.

Here's what the final neck-warmer looked like:

Final product

Just big enough

To warm one this size, all you have to do is heat them in the microwave between 45-90 seconds. Make sure the microwave does not have any liquid in it, or it can cook the rice!

I like these rice warmers because they are portable, so you can take them on the go, and don't have to be afraid of falling asleep with it as with an electric heating pad.

I've also seen ones a bit longer with Velcro on the ends to wrap all the way around which could be a good idea.


I hope you all had good holidays, and are starting off the new year well. May your 2014 be the best year of your life yet, filled with love, joy, and peace.

Until next time, blessings.

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